by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist
Sometimes when I am waiting in a queue I ponder, “What would I pay to not be waiting here, but to be in a fast lane?”
This can happen at traffic lights, doctors’ waiting rooms, airport check-in, airport security and wherever else the government is running things.
At airline check-ins, the long queue is mostly at the economy class counters, as business and first class give their premium-paying customers the benefit of some queue-jumping. At doctors’ waiting rooms, the waiting-time is a price we pay for “free” healthcare. At traffic lights, the queue-time is the price we pay for “free” roads.
Queues at counters of shops don’t persist for long. The shop owner sees the queue, which tells him that his product is popular, or underpriced, and he does something about it: he may put on another employee, or he may increase the price. Or a competitor opens up. Either way the queuing problem, the queuing-price (the time-price that the queuers pay), gets resolved. The business opportunity presented by the queue is grabbed by an entrepreneur.
With government-provided “free” services, the price mechanism is not allowed to work. The costly (in time) and inefficient government mechanism is to offer “free” stuff and ration the supply with a hidden price — of time in queue. Local councils have the “customers” (they don’t call them this — they may call them “clients,” but often see them as nuisances) waiting for approvals on development and buildings applications. This is very expensive and adds to construction costs and development costs.
So, how to take advantage of the business opportunity presented when there is a government-induced queue?
One way is corruption. Pay a fee (bribe?) to jump the queue. It may be very economic to pay a “facilitation fee” — over the counter or under the counter. Obviously, the facilitation fee could be formalised and legalised allowing urgent and important applications to be fast-tracked. There are many other ways for government departments to speed up the queuing time, and the very best, of course, is to eliminate the regulation that courses the queue in the first place. The next best is to privatise the approval service so that “authorised approvers” do it for profit.
The tragedy of the commons remains a relevant concept, and as governments take control of more and more, of our lives, our jobs, the economy, there are more and more “commons” and likely to be more and more queues, and increasing temptations for corruption/facilitation fees.
Queuing is a price we pay. We may not see our waiting time, our queuing, as part of the price, but it is. It is a cost (in time and inconvenience) we pay. In free markets, queues get resolved pretty quickly. In government services they don’t, and people wait, for example with “free” healthcare, sometimes for months or years, for their treatment — a price they must pay for this “free” or subsidised service.
- Welcome from Neville Kennard
- Think Tanks Don't Work
- "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
- The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
- Corporate Welfare
- Citizenship for Sale?
- I Don't Vote
- Voting: Right or Privilege?
- Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
- Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
- Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
- Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
- Government Likes War
- Collusion is Our Right
- Why Not the Drug Olympics?
- Unconventional Wisdom
- Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
- Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
- Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
- Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
- Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
- Separating Sport and State
- Your Home is Not an Investment
- Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
- A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
- Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
- Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
- What is a good Australian?
- Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
- The Market Failure Industry
- Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
- Wot if ...?
- The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
- The Tannehills
- Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
- Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
- Minarchy vs Anarchy
- Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
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- Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
- Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
- Authoritarian Freedom
- Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
- The Tyranny of the Majority
- If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
- Business Should Exploit Boat People
- The Immorality of Trade Unions
- "America" vs "The United States"
- Sweet Anarchy
- The Illusion of "Job Creation"
- Gold Is Money
- Guilty Capitalists
- Prosperity vs Growth
- Capitalism vs Democracy
- More people = More fun
- Self-Ownership - the very idea!
- Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
- The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
- Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
- My Journey to Anarchy:
From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
- Government Needs Bad Guys –
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- What Is Obscene?
- Traffic Economics
- Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
- Neville Kennard Obituary